Tag Archives: kids and falling furniture

6 Ways to Protect Your Child from Falling Furniture Injury

Our August Guest Blog is by Richard Console, an attorney with Console & Hollawell, P.C., in Marlton, New Jersey.

When you become a parent, your main goal is to have your children grow up safe and healthy. However, many times parents are not aware of serious dangers lurking in their homes that can shatter that dream in moments. One such hazard is furniture that tips or falls on top of a child and causes serious injury or death.

Children are curious and with that peaked interest comes their need to explore. You may think that your home is child-proof, but all it takes is your child attempting to climb a piece of furniture and tragedy can strike.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report stating that every two weeks a child dies as the result of falling furniture in the United States. The CPSC went on to report that from 2000 to 2008 they received nearly 200 reports of a child under eight dying and more than 16,000 reports of a child under five being injured as a result of these accidents.

Recognizing the danger and taking steps to reduce the risk could save your child’s life.

Step 1: Purchase Stable Furniture

If you are in the market for new furniture, you should make sure that what you buy is sturdy. Furniture that can wiggle and tip easily poses a greater risk to children.

Step 2: Anchor Furniture to Wall

All of your large furniture should be mounted to the wall. There are furniture anchors that you can purchase at your local hardware store. The furniture should be secured even if you don’t think your child can tip it. Your child may climb it in a manner which causes the furniture to move, shake, or tip so it is imperative that you ensure the pieces cannot move.

Step 3: Place TVs and Other Large Appliances on Proper Furniture

Often times, people will use furniture in a manner that it was not made for. For example putting a TV on a night stand or snack table may be a money-saving option, but those pieces of furniture are not made to withstand the bulk of a TV. Placing large electronics on the wrong furniture could be deadly for your child.

Step 4: Remove All Toys from High Places

If your child sees a toy of theirs in a high place there is a greater chance that they will attempt to retrieve it. To prevent this urge, toys should never be places on top of high furniture.

Step 5: Keep Electrical Cords Out Of Reach

All electrical cords should be kept tucked away where your child cannot reach them. If they are able to get a hold of cords and pull on them, the device can fall on top of them.

Step 6: Educate Your Child

Parents must be diligent in enforcing safety rules, including telling children they cannot climb on furniture.

When a child has been injured, it can be a truly devastating time. The situation can be made worse if the accident was the result of someone else’s negligent actions.

Links:

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/onsafety/2010/09/prevent-a-tv-fall-in-your-house/

Guidecraft and CPSC Recall Children’s Dramatic Play 4-in-1 Puppet Theater

This is one example of a great idea for a children’s toy gone bad for its lack of safety where young children are involved. The 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater was a great idea. Children love to express themselves during play with puppets. But here’s a theater that can tip over on the children who are playing or simply watching the fun. A little more care in the manufacture could have made play with this particular children’s toy item a great deal safer.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and Guidecraft Inc. of Winthrop, Minnesota, announced March 13 that it is recalling 1,800 in the U.S., and 350 in Canada, Dramatic Play 4-in-1 Puppet Theaters, model number G51062, because the toy theaters pose tipping and entrapment hazards to young children. The CPSC has received several complaints, including two reports of the theater tipping over, one report involving injury to a young child.

This toy theater looks as though it is made of wood–or something that looks like wood–from the photos in the recall notice. The structure’s composition is not stated in the recall announcement. The puppet theater weighs about 46 pounds. If a 5 lb. bag of sugar falls on your foot, you would certainly feel it. Multiply that weight by 10, add to that the height from which the item is falling and the velocity of tipping, and imagine what the puppet theater’s tipping over could do to a young child!

A few adjustments in the manufacture of this toy puppet theater–which was made in China–might have made this a much safer play item. It is difficult to comprehend how this particular item was imported and sold to over 2,000 consumers for children’s use and play before it was noted that the puppet theater was “tippy”. Since this particular toy did not come assembled, the retailer would have assembled it one or more times for display or demonstration purposes. However, it was sold mostly through catalogs and by Guidecraft’s online and other online stores nationwide–so it might have been difficult for consumers to find that the theater was unstable until it was assembled.

These play theaters were sold from July 2010 through April 2011 for about $180. Guidecraft also currently advertises another floor-based toy puppet theater on their website, called the “Center Stage Puppet Theater,” which sells for about $135, appears to be similarly constructed, weighs 26 pounds, but apparently has not been recalled due to any complaints or problems. We advise caution in purchasing any floor-based or table top puppet theater for children’s use that might be questionable in the safety category, and we urge parents to see an assembled model in person if possible before purchasing.

To help consumers and parents identify the 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater, it has two interchangeable panels with different themes on each side, including puppet theater, diner, doctor’s office and post office. Model number G51062 can be found in the assembly instructions and also printed on a sticker affixed to the bottom of the center crossbar. The dimensions of the assembled puppet theater are 4 feet high by 3 feet wide. To view photos of the 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater, consumers may go to the CPSC website at: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12131.html.

This 4-in-1 Dramatic Play Theater should be removed from children’s access and parents and consumers should contact Guidecraft for a refund or to receive a replacement product. Guidecraft’s toll free number is 1(888) 824-1308 and may be reached by calling anytime from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday. Consumers may also visit the company’s website at www.guidecraft.com.